“I would like you to all effectively collaborate on this project.” Said anyone in a leadership position. What they don’t tell you is how to collaborate. Collaboration takes professional finesse to meet common organizational goals, the team goals, and the individuals goals. I have to admit, collaboration can be complex, and during this time of 100% telework for most of the workforce, collaboration can offer its challenges with actually completing a task. It can be difficult and one of the most rewarding aspects of a career.
There are some Important attributes of collaboration—the first being communication. Good communication will take you far in your professional career as long as you can effectively present yourself professionally. There are two significant forms of communication that most people are not aware of, there is communication itself, and then there is active communication. Just like listening, there is listening per se, and then there is active listening. The difference is establishing enough self-control in any situation to hear or present clearly, efficiently, and effectively. In collaborative workgroups, communication is vital.
One of the essential second attributes of collaboration is the common goal. Effectively present a common goal to better prepare your workgroup for the task at hand. Transparency is a part of sharing the common goal for your workgroup to understand why they are doing what they are doing. Keeping in mind some workgroup members may require additional details, whereas other workgroup members may not. Either way, it’s essential to share the goal overall to ensure all workgroup members feel their contributions are applicable.
And the third most crucial attribute of collaboration is establishing roles within the workgroup. Workgroup members must understand the roles they play to bring the appropriate talents, knowledge, and skills to the final collaborative project. Roles also provide clarification for a professional road map towards the end goal. Often the workgroup member assigning the roles usually is the leader, but that is not always the case. The critical aspect of role establishing within a workgroup, ensure the role fits the workgroup member.
Collaboration does not have to be complicated, nor does it have to be arduous. With the tools and technology that we have at our finger tips, it should be more accessible than ever to collaborate in an online setting than it was to do so in a physical environment. The important Takeaways in creating collaborative groups, keep your communication positive, practical, and purposeful. Be sure to establish a common goal for the workgroup to move towards and establish appropriate roles within the workgroup.
Callahan, Schenk and White (n.d.) Building a Collaborative Workplace. Full Circle Associates. https://www.anecdote.com/pdfs/papers/AnecdoteCollaborativeWorkplace_v1s.pdf